Letter writer says COVID has created lots of newbie cyclists who don't know rules of cycling. (File photo)

LETTER: Newbie cyclists in Penticton need lessons on rules of the road

Penticton cycling group just received city funding, should give back by offering how-to lessons

Editor:

I wish to applaud Jo Nichols’ letter of June 16 and add some thoughts to her’s.

I have been a locally based avid recreational cyclist for about 20 years. Road bikes and mountain bikes have been important parts of my life and my odometers have recorded more than 20,000 kilometres. Over the years I have frequently been in conversations about how “all those bikers are dangerous on the trails ’cause they sneak up on ya!”

Today as we settle in to our second COVID summer, the number of new, very inexperienced bikers on our trails, roads, highways and byways continues to increase. Many of these people are using electric bikes that are capable of relatively high speed.

What concerns me is that many of these new riders haven’t ridden a bike since they were kids. And here they are now, wobbling and swerving on those same paths, trails, etc. They don’t even know about biking courtesy and of the “share the road” philosophy. In the words of that famous Canadian “philosopher” Russell Peters, “someone’s gonna get a hurt on here real soon!”

PACA has just lobbied for and received a sizable chunk of change from our city budget to ”improve cycling conditions” in our community. I think it would be good leadership and image building for PACA to initiate some public safety lessons for newbies. These should include, among other matters, safety, riding etiquette (where to learn), rules of the road and etc. Your website suggests one of your missions is to make riders’ time on their bikes better. Safety should be part of that and no one is teaching these newbies anything.

On a daily basis I witness close calls as they try to navigate something as simple as the transition from the KVR Trail, across Pickering Street and the old rail bridge and then across Government Street.

Show some gratitude for your gift from the citizens of Penticton and some leadership for the betterment of our sport.

Ron Spence

Penticton

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